3rd June 2013
Doing a three-sixty on a scooter, rolling dice and cooking might seem like common school activities, but for students at 12 Victorian schools, the activities are leading to serious learning.
Games and activities are the focal point of a hand-on maths program that has been embraced by principals, numeracy coaches and teachers at the schools and their students are reaping the rewards.
The program, YuMi Deadly Maths, developed by the research team at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, is designed for Indigenous and low socio-economic schools.
Lead researcher, QUT's Dr Bron Ewing, said the program was achieving excellent results across more than 100 schools in Queensland and was having the same impact in the Victorian schools taking part in the program.
"YuMi Deadly maths is a hands-on, activity based way of learning maths that is not only fun, but is leading to Victorian students improving their maths results by up to 70 per cent in some cases," she said.
Dr Ewing said the program had been so successful that four Queensland schools, Beenleigh, Kingston, Marsden and Vincent State Schools, and Sunshine Harvester State School in Victoria, were now YuMi Deadly Maths Centres for Excellence.
She said the support of school principals was pivotal to the program's success as these leaders set a school's culture in relation to professional development, mentoring and school improvement.
Sunshine Harvester State School Principal Paul Griffin said the maths program often took students out of the classroom enabling learning through action.
"Students are learning about angles through the execution of a 360 degree turn on a scooter, for example, and to make a human clock to make links with time, angles and fractions," he said.
"Teachers are drawing mathematics out of real life events. For example, they learn about mathematics by participating in events like a recent 'Healthy Lunch Day' where the grade 5/6 students prepared lunch for 150 students. Organising this event required the student to use mathematical concepts such as fractions, money, measurement and problem solving."
"The activities are limited only by the imagination of the maths teachers, so in other words, the activities are limitless."
He said by relating the maths concepts to these experiences, they are learning the mathematics knowledge and skills they need and understanding how relevant maths is in every-day life.
Mr Griffin said a YuMi Deadly Maths sharing summit for Victorian teachers was held at Sunshine Harvester Primary School on 29 May.
"The summit enabled us to exchange ideas so individual schools could mine each other's activities for the best approaches and also report on the success of this great program," he said.
Primary schools involved in the summit are: Deer Park North, Albanvale, Glengalla, Derrimut, Furlong Park School of the Deaf, Sunshine North, Deer Park West, Coburn, Sunshine and Sunshine Harvester.
Media contact: Rose Trapnell, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901 firstname.lastname@example.org